“That which the palmerworm hath left, hath the locust eaten, and that which the locust hath left, hath the cankerworm eaten, and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.”(Joel 1:4, KJV)
The basic message of the book of Joel is “Straighten up”!
It was a period when the entire land of Judah suffered under a massive locust plague, in which crops failed, livestock died, and people perished. This was God’s wrath.
Look at the condition of the world today. Crimes at highest, immorality of all kinds, demonic activities, prevailing all over. I can’t say if it’s the end times or not, because it’s not on us to say and decide. But it must be God’s wrath, in some way. People are suffering and are hopeless, and pride rules their lives, that stops them from coming to God and repent. The ones who do get the priviledge to hear the word from a servant of God, it takes minutes for them to backslide and go back to their old lifestyle. They reason out everything to sound right. But who are we fooling at the end of the day?
Joel went on to urge people to repent and encourage them, by telling them God wants to bring restoration to their devastation.
Our God is a God of restoration too.
Let us come back to the warnings here.
Joel 1:11 ( read it aloud)….”Be ashamed, O you tillers( the workers of Gospel in the field) of the soil (word of God), “because the HARVEST of the field has perished, the vine has dried up and the fig tree fails”.
What are the words talking about? The ‘Tillers’ are the workers who had been assigned the work, aren’t doing the work sincerely. If they were doing things sincerely, it would expand the horizons for the rest of the workers. But it isn’t so. Rather it is closing doors for others who want to do the work for His glory.
Early church was a perfect tree. Healthy roots, healthy leaves, healthy fruits. If the roots are healthy, everything else is going to be healthy. Because everything flows and spreads from the roots. Every fruit of the Spirit manifested in the early church. The nine gifts and the nine fruits of the spirit hung as perfect apples in the tree.
“For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit. To another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another diverse kind of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. (1 Cor 12:8-10). Sick were healed, miracles wrought and when other tongues were spoken in the assembly, someone gave the interpretation. (1 Cor 14:27).
Those days no one lacked anything. If anyone was in need, others filled in. they all had things in common. None called things as their ‘own’. They weren’t working for ‘building’ their own. They were working for one cause ….spread of Gospel. That era of church history, is gone, when each was firmly planted in the firm faith of Christ. Christ was the root.
Miracles were genuinely happening. Book of Acts 1:8 was a perfect Church. All present there, were simple people, who never went to formal school or went for any kind of formal training. But they were the ones who were filled with power from God. They were the ones who were used by God for healing, for miracles, for witnessing. These were the ones who were real believers, real workers of the Gospel.
Now we find workers/tillers, forgetting their ‘first love’. Hunger for money, hunger for popularity, replaced Christ as the very purpose.
What was the first call for each one of us to be?
To be……Witnesses! Period.
Yes, some will be called as leaders. Some as pastors, some as helpers, and some as musicians of Gospel. But through it all, we have primarily two things to do in life…….’worship’ and witness’. Do not witness till you worship.
Rev 2;4-5, says, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, repent and do the “FIRST WORKS” or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. “First works’ refers to the supernatural works done by the Church. ‘Ergon’ is the Greek word for it, repeatedly used by Jesus in reference to the miracles He did (John 5:20,36, 6:28, 10:25).
Now we find the ones who are attacking the fruits of the spirit, are growing bolder and bolder every day, without taking into consideration the repercussions. These are the dark ages.
God knew that His church will lose its glory. Through Prophet Joel, He prophesied that the church will not retain its glorious state of power. Joel saw the palmerworm and the caterpillar were going to rob, strip, mutilate and destroy this perfect tree with its gifts and fruits of the spirit.
It’s happening today,…..the palmerworm starts a work, where it leaves, the locust picks up from there, and where the locust leaves, the cankerworm starts its work.
Joel 2: 1-2, “ a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and of thick mist and darkness is coming… judgment of the Lord is coming.
Joel 2:12-13, “ turn and keep on coming to Me with ALL YOUR HEARTS, with fasting and weeping, until the BROKEN FELLOWSHIP IS RESTORED. REND YOUR HEARTS AND NOT YOUR GARMENTS ( its to be genuine and not a show). Joel 12:14, Who knows He might leave a blessing behind, with which to SERVE HIM.
Joel 2:25-26 we have heard many proclaim, so it is pretty famous a verse, since we all want to hear good things, and never any rebuke. God is a God of restoration too. His promise is definitely there for all who repent. But as I see it as a servant of God, what has happened has already happened. People are the reason for other’s backslidings. And it may take a while for them all to come to realization of their mistakes, but chances are it might be too late for them, since they are in spiritual slumber right now.
God can change things around. Let us always remember, it’s not my church, neither yours, nor anyone else’s. It is His. Forever will remain His. So let’s work for that.
Now question arises……. How do we become part in the process of bringing revival?
1) First thing is to learn to wait upon the Lord…for His clear guidance. Our minds should not be crowded with our own thoughts, or intentions. It should be empty. The emptier you are, more you will be filled with His Holy Spirit.
2) Ask for His will and never force yours.
3) You will have to take into consideration the talents God has filled you with. Not everyone will have leadership qualities. Training someone who lacks leadership qualities, would be wastage of time. And if we train someone having leadership qualities with something that keeps him behind the scenes, that would be a mistake too. Each one has a specific call. Ask God to guide you to recognize that.
4) If you have been called to lead, you have to be surrounded with people of wisdom. They all need equal amount of respect. Seek God’s face to help you recognize a core team of wise people.
5) Your core team is there to help you assist you, and not take away your place. So if the fear fills you, and insecurity stops you from having a core team, remind yourself that the work is God’s and not yours.
6) At anytime of your life, you cannot allow yourself to think, that it is your ministry. You are not here for glorifying yourself. You are here to glorify God, honor His words, honor the work assigned to you and ‘selflessly’ do the work. Your reward comes from God and not from humans.
7) We can learn from the lives of Joseph, Moses, and Peter.
8) Before we go into the field for harvests, we have to spend much time on knees, else it is very difficult to reach anyone as such.
9) You have to do your homework beforehand. Understand the minds, their surroundings, their lifestyles, their needs. Everything doesn’t fit into everyone’s lives. What fits for A might not work for B. We have to be sensitive about the person we have to reach.
10) We cannot pick only the famous ‘good to hear verses’ for our convenience. When a warning comes, we have to take care of that immediately. Else it could lead to many more problems. At the same time, we have to be very careful with ‘what we share’.
So these are the basics that we have to do, before we start the work of ‘building His church’.
“His winnowing fan (shovel, fork) is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear out and clean His threshing floor and gather and store His wheat in His barn, but the chaff He will burn up with fire that cannot be put out” (Mathew 3:12).
Time to ‘straighten up’!
(“”The writer has been a Cover page Model for various fashion magazines , anchored various musical shows for youth Channels and a (short film) filmmaker for Discovery Channel. Currently busy writing her own book””)